This poem first appeared in Winter 2014 issue of The Antioch Review.
ONCE, I WALKED WITH A MAN INTO A FIELD
by Sharon Wang
We felt the cool air gather. Held
a branch each in one hand. Watched
the branches gather some of
the light and deflect some of
the rest, and even when placed in water
they did not appear broken, not truly.
Many nights now when I dream
I dream of flinging stones across
a white square. Birds come.
Sometimes I see them. And there it is,
the shape that cannot be caught,
makes itself present only to be seen.
Is memory merely imposition?
Near the end, we took turns
sleeping, which meant we took turns
dreaming also. When I dreamt
of a white husk he dreamt
of a white field. Then I dreamt of a field
burned clean as bone—two figures in it,
were they standing or sitting?
Had the landscape been coming
closer or were we moving closer to it?
Ever edging, the horizon sliding away
from us with all its birds—
all the known creatures gone, already,
having sensed what was to come.
We’d lit the branches and placed
them close to our torsos.
To illuminate our bodies to
It wasn’t a sort of beauty that
we wanted even to share with others.
It was like undressing with great care
and completely in the dark. Not
handing the branch to one party or another
but simply holding it out.
Sharon Wang’s work can be found in journals including Blackbird, Tupelo Quarterly, DIAGRAM, The Cincinnati Review, and The Pinch. She lives in Brooklyn and works as a grant writer.
© 2015 The Antioch Review